Social Question

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

Have we lost track of where our food comes from?

Asked by TheProfoundPorcupine (2549points) December 28th, 2012

So many of us now only see our food when it is either in a packet or sitting on a butchers counter all ready for us to take home and cook, so in a way we have lost track of where it comes from as we never see the point where it switches from being grown or caught or slaughtered and we only see the end result.

Have we therefore lost track of where food comes from? Are you the type that believes if you can’t kill it yourself, then don’t eat it? Is the hunting ancestor side to us in danger of becoming extinct?

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30 Answers

Shippy's avatar

Totally, if I had to see that little Moo Moo, I certainly no way would eat him. If I had to watch those little lambs with their mommy would I chew its leg, once I’d cooked it? Never. I am so going back to being vegetarian.

glacial's avatar

I hear this occasionally, but I don’t know who these people are who are unaware that a burger was once a cow, and a slice of bacon was once a pig. I don’t feel any need to suppress this knowledge in order to eat meat. If civilization were to collapse tomorrow (which it won’t), I would have no trouble (emotionally) hunting my own, even though I’m a city dweller.

@Shippy, I assume you are being ironic!

Coloma's avatar

Well….I certainly got in touch with my local source of organic Rhubarf at my bakery the other day. I know where that evil root comes from now, and, as far as I am concerned it should remain buried in the dirt. lol
I miss growing my own eggs, but luckily I live in a farm trails area and have an abundance of locally grown, organic fruits and veggies and nuts.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not at all sure what you’re talking about. You seem very confused. Food comes from the grocery store. You must have an active imagination. There is no killing involved. Just take the nice package off the shelf, pay for it, and bring it home.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Mine comes from Kroger.

I really don’t worry about where the cow lived that produced my steak, or the chicken was that laid my eggs, or the field was where the potatoes were grown. It’s trivia. It doesn’t make the food taste better or worse.

I’m not going to start driving 50 miles to buy free-range lettuce or pay twice the price for milk from smiling cows. My concern is a balance of price, edibility, and availability.

Maybe I am breaking some unwritten commandment of liberal thought, but I just can’t get too worked up about my food.

Shippy's avatar

@glacial No, I got so into it, I regressed some thirty five years loll.

Shippy's avatar

@glacial ugh I mean forty five years, shit I am old.

gailcalled's avatar

No. I have become more and more aware over the past 10 years.

I eat no animal protein other than a little bit of cheese on pizza occasionally and could easily do without it.

Judi's avatar

I tried to watch Food Inc and had to quit less than half way through. (It’s on netflix) WE are in a pretty sad state of affairs.
I wonder what will happen when we go over the fiscal cliff and there are no more milk and corn subsidies and prices sky rocket. I am curious how the loud (but from very red and impoverished states) will react?

gailcalled's avatar


I am proselytizing here, again.

Try Forks Over Knives
And Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

Aethelwine's avatar

I haven’t. I can see cows from my bedroom window.

ucme's avatar

Nah, Iceland deliver for free.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@Judi That was an interesting link. There was actually a TV show here in the UK a few months ago that looked at the way in which food was marketed and it spoke about how the supermarkets like to create this image of the little farm etc.

The part that stood out was that they were found guilty of making up places with one example being salmon where they just made up a place in Scotland because they felt that if it had the word Loch in front of it that it would sell better. If I made a product and did that I would have probably found out what prisoners get for Xmas dinner.

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi The fiscal cliff means no more corn subsidies???? Wow! For that reason alone, we should go over it. There is too much corn grown, and especially too much corn syrup. It is bad for all our waist lines. And the other food subsidies distort the market too. Boy, if we went over the fiscal cliff, it might actually be better for us than not falling off it.

Argonon's avatar

Hmm I atleast know where some of my food comes from.
I grow my own veggies and fruit and we have our own chickens to produce eggs.
I even catch my own fish, but I still don’t know how to prepare it myself, that’s usually my mom’s duty. :/

We also have a family friend who gives us deer meat from his hunts and another who makes her own jams and gives us some as well.

We get everything else from the store though.

hearkat's avatar

We have found farms local to us and we try to get most of our foods from there. It is time-consuming and expensive to drive around the region to get different items. I could never have done this when I was a single mother.

I have an internet friend who moved to a farm and is raising most of her own food or bartering with other farmers for what she doesn’t do herself. Personally, I could not slaughter the animals myself. I feel comfortable knowing that they have lived a good life being free range and eating a natural diet (organic when we can find it) and not manipulated by antibiotics or hormones.

deni's avatar

A lot of people have. I don’t think so much in the sense that “Oh yeah, just a few days ago this used to be a cute cow with long eyelashes”....well, most people know that and have come to terms with it. Still, if they had to kill it themselves, I bet 99% of the population would be vegetarians.

But if you’re talking about the fact that hardly anything is local like it’s supposed to be, everything is imported even when it’s out of season, and half the food sold in the supermarket is jampacked with preservatives and other things that aren’t real food, then yeah.

KNOWITALL's avatar

We have lots of ‘eat local’ movements in my area of Missouri, so no, we haven’t lost touch. Our local health food stores sell local grass-fed meats and we have lots of farmer’s markets, too.

bossob's avatar

You mean like some kids think carrots grow on trees?! Absolutely. Truth be told, it wasn’t until later in life, when I developed an interest in vegetable gardening, that I learned how a lot of different veggies looked while they were growing, and what was required to grow them.

For decades, chain grocery store veggies have been bred for appearance, long term shelf life, and resistance to damage while being transported. Flavor and nutritional value have become non-priorities in favor of maximum profit. It concerns me how many folks think tomatoes are supposed to be perfectly round and uniformly red, when in fact, tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes and colors and flavor. In the last 20+ years, if someone has eaten only grocery store tomatoes, they haven’t a clue what a real tomato tastes like.

I understand that gardening isn’t for everyone, for a variety of reasons. But, for those folks who are interested in the quality of their produce, there are farmers’ markets, organic stores, and CSAs. The main reason the cost of organic and local grown produce appears to be expensive compared to grocery store produce that is procured from mega-farms, is that the big guys get federal subsidies from the federal government. But that’s a topic for another thread.

Running short of time, so I’ll save my thoughts on meat production for later.

cookieman's avatar

Nope. I worked for a local farm for five years (doing design and promotions). Over 500 acres of homegrown veggies and fruit. We were also partnered with a local dairy farm and an apple orchard.

On the meat side, much of ours was locally sourced with the exception of our beef (which was from California). Also, I started going to my uncle’s friend’s butcher shop (in Boston’s North End) when I was about ten. I’ve seen many whole animals broken down into chops and steaks and so on.

I have no problem eating animals. Fun to pet, better to eat.
apologies to Jim Gaffigan

wildpotato's avatar

I think many people have lost track. I try not to. I have gardened to the sustainable level and have raised and slaughtered chickens, and I think these were good experiences in taking personal responsibility for my food. I hope to do both again in the future, as well as to try my hand at hunting someday. I also thank the animals I eat before I eat them, ever since I was introduced to this idea in a Native American unit way back in elementary school. I feel like it would be disrespectful and inauthentic to not acknowledge that my life is sustained by the lives of other animals.

My favorite book on this topic is Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Judi's avatar

@wundayatta , I’m not sure that corn subsidies are included in the projected cuts. I heard that dairy subsidies were and that the price of milk will go up. I am just assuming that corn subsidies will also be cut.

burntbonez's avatar

I don’t buy this argument that people get separated from where food comes from due to our modern day food distribution system. I do know that some inner city dwellers who lack education seem not to know anything other than the corner store. They have no education in nutrition or food. But that, to me, is part of the larger issue of people living in poverty having poor education as well. Other than that, any person with a halfway decent education knows as much as they feel is necessary about food.

El_Cadejo's avatar

For sure. A couple months ago I got into an argument with someone that I couldn’t believe I was having. We were talking about being stranded on an island and if there was no food would you eat a human? He said he would probably eat someones ass and I argued that that would probably be the worst spot to eat due to all the fat and that the leg would probably be best due to all the muscle.

His reply…...“you dont eat muscles”
Wait what…. what do you mean you dont eat muscles, what do you think you’re eating when you eat a piece of steak or pork?
“The meat.”
Right…but the meat is the animals muscle
“No its not”

This seriously went on for about 20 min until I found someone with a smart phone to look it up and finally shut him up. I was seriously astonished that someone(that was well educated) could actually not know something as simple as this. But it goes to show just how out of touch we are with our food anymore.

burntbonez's avatar

@uberbatman Don’t generalize based on one case. There are people who are out of touch, but most people have more education than that.

rooeytoo's avatar

I know where it comes from and am usually appalled at the manner in which animals are kept for profit. I eat minimal meat and only free range. This is not only because I feel animals are sentient creatures and deserve a good life before they meet their destiny but also because there are more and more studies that show these animals are better for the health of the consumer. So I feel it is worth my while to pay the extra for free range. I just read a study done on dog food. When dogs are fed from grain raised cattle (as opposed to free range green grazing) the incidence of cancer increased dramatically. I don’t think it is much different for humans. People worry so much about climate change (generally while doing nothing about it except complain) when I think our demise is happening a lot closer to home, as in our kitchens!

And oh yeah, no way I could kill it and eat it if I had raised it and named it! But I am a hypocrite, I will eat it if someone else raised it and killed it with love.

wildpotato's avatar

@uberbatman That happened in a Chuck Palahniuk book, Haunted. Eating someone’s ass because they were out of food, I mean. I don’t want to spoiler it, but it’s a great little scene.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@burntbonez Of course, but most aren’t as nearly as well informed as they should be either.

@wildpotato Indeed it was, though I have to say Haunted was one of my least favorite books from Chuck Palahniuk

wildpotato's avatar

@uberbatman I know, right? It didn’t teach me cool stuff like how to build bombs or clean things, or even have a particularly interesting plot. It’s like he had this nifty idea but then couldn’t execute it in an interesting way. Should have just been a book of short stories; I like “Guts” and a few of the others quite a bit as standalones.

DrBill's avatar

Garden in the back yard, we have raised the cows, pigs and chickens, even named them and referred to them by name as we are them.

If God did not want us eating animals, he would not have made them out of meat.

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